Sunday, November 29, 2009

Give what you've got!

When I think of charitable giving, money is the first thing that comes to mind. Then, maybe "write-off" or "Goodwill". How about you?

A couple of months ago I felt like God had spoken to my heart.

"Give what you've got!"

Over & over this same message has come to me in various forms since then.

I've been on the receiving end of people "giving what they've got" for as long as I can remember. Everything from tuition paid for youth camp to a brand new car before college. In these economic times, money is tight, but that doesn't rob you of the blessing of giving.

What do you have that you can give?

First idea that came to mind was my attic full of baby clothes & supplies. They are washed & neatly folded according to season & size. Most of their labels are Gap & Gymboree, but I bought them at WalMart prices-which is a big thrill for me!

I want whomever receives these things to appreciate the value, so the benefit of my bargaining doesn't end with my kids. I've been storing them in case I happen to hear of someone who needs them.

No more waiting, I needed to "give what I've got"!

Within days, I had most all of it given to the perfect recipients. The way these people came across my path & the stories of how fitting the stuff ended up being could fill the rest of this post, so I won't share details (maybe a first for me!)

What else do I have that I can share?

Our family went to the Drive-In (an interesting experience with a 3 & 1 year old!)

to see The Blind Side

A true story. The Touhy family gives what they have to "Big Mike", a homeless African American boy.

The Touhys gave him a home. A family. Support. Protection.

Michael Oher leaves the Touhy family home to play football at Ole Miss. He was 23rd pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft! He is currently playing for the Baltimore Ravens.

Hearing this story begs the question:

What do I have that can make a difference in someone's life?

Recently, our family was blessed again by someone "giving what they had".

This family happens to have lots of frequent flier miles leading to free airline tickets.

I didn't know this when I came back from visiting my family in NY & shared how much I now missed my kids playing with their cousins & how refreshed I felt after the conversations I had with my brothers & sisters. Weeks later, she offered what felt like a million dollars to me-her airline miles.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

  • Thanksgiving was shockingly hard for me to spend without extended family.
  • I had just surrendered what schemes I had to go home for Christmas to our family's budget & savings goals.
  • and of course, God has been sending this message "Give what you've got" to me.

What have you got to give?

*image: click here for purchasing gift tag by farouche on Etsy

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful for...

I was asked to guest post on another blog about what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. The images that flashed in my mind first seemed to shallow to admit, especially considering the venue. I mean, of course, I'm thankful for more significant things...
Transparency got the best of me!
Truth is, I am thankful for they way these things have enriched my life!
Come on, I could have made a whole collage of just iPhone apps I'm thankful for.

I'm also thankful that Thanksgiving is just one day a year because, I can hardly stand being away from our INCREDIBLE extended family.
I think I went into another room and cried like 4 times in the past couple days!
Thank you for your missable-ness!
Normal days so far from home are much easier than holidays. Pin It

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Turkey Cupcakes

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Carter & I caught a gal from iVillage making these cupcakes on the Today show a while back.
We were hooked.
He's been looking forward to making them for Turkey Day at PDO (Parents Day Out).
Want to make them too?
Click here for step-by-step instructions.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest blogger for Lori

I'm a guest blogger today at
You can click here to read my entry inspired by friends & how crucial they are in my life.
And since the friends I speak of in the entry happen to be my faithful readers, I figured you may want to hop on over & find yourself in the entry.

Lori has been on my Google Reader since I found her blog. If you're a mom, I think you'll enjoy it too.
Here are some links to a few of my favorites:
Why you start without me?
What would your T-shirt say?
Get the Mud!
In His Steps Pin It

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, Monday

We've turned ourselves into busy people over the course of a few months. Even when we're not dashing from here to there or passing off kids & to head to this or that thing on the calendar, we're on our heels with Miss Lilah walking & destructing anything at any given moment! It's a fun kind of busy for the most part.
Except for when the 3 year old yells, "Lilah is having coffee!!"
And I turn to see her holding my mug of freshly fixed coffee. She's walking across the living room while it splashes over the rim of one side & the next leaving a trail on our carpet. Cleaning the carpet isn't my kind of fun-busy.

I took a photography class to learn the functions of my camera. I have a feeling I'll be using the little icons that match what I'm shooting on the automatic side of the dial for years to come.

I have been iPhone-less for almost a week. I know now why I tried so desperately to avoid this situation.
I have been self-solving & visited a Genius Bar in NY last month, but I had to resolve to sending it in for a replacement.
Dreaded. How can I be without it?
You can't imagine how inconvenient life is without your iPhone unless you're forced to experience it.
My replacement iPhone comes FedEx today.
Can hardly wait to be back to my old self again.

Since I was living old-fashioned, logging into a computer to view mail & making grocery lists on paper, I also entertained myself the old fashioned way: reading a book. I nearly reached the last chapter & I don't want the book to end, so I'm resisting. I already know how it ends because I saw the movie, but still. I just don't want it to be over. I've enjoyed having it to go to when the kids are sleeping & Dan is occupied. Do you ever feel like that? Pin It

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trinity Church Women's blog

Okay, I'll admit, when we moved here about 4 years ago, I had heard that Shane Bernard had gone to Trinity Church & I was a big fan, so we checked it out (of course, he wasn't there, but I figured they'd have good music!) They do.

After visiting other churches in town, we settled on Trinity as our home.
First thoughts were: the worship leader sounds a bit like Brian McKnight & the young guy sounds like he could record with the Passion worship leaders.
The Pastor preaches the Word, and boy does he know it, quote it (& I would read along to see if he was really that good!)
Then I found that his wife also knows her Bible. Very cool. I love when there's a powerhouse woman cased in this perfectly feminine package.

I've enjoyed being a part of the Worship & Creative Arts team, and now I'm honored to be a guest blogger on our newly launched Women's Ministries blog.

Today is my first post, with the month long topic being PRIZE. Check it out here.

Now, I'm praying that remains as transparent & true to the way it vacillates between the shallow & the serious, knowing that any church member could be reading! I need this outlet. Need not to be screening my thoughts based on this or that person. That's hard for an "I-want-you-to-like-me-gal". You know?
Ok. Check it out. What do you think?
I want you to like it!!!!!
Transparency? Check!

Picture: Ruffled Edge Mirror: for purchasing Pin It

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guess he told me

Me: Carter, you know some kids don't get to have presents under their Christmas tree.
Carter: Why not?

Me: Some parents don't have jobs. They don't have enough money to buy their kids toys. Do you think there is something we can do to help those kids?
Carter: (without missing a beat) We can give them my toys. Like my Batmobile,...

Me: Well, don't you still play with your Batmobile? We can give them some toys that you don't play with anymore.

Carter: No, mommy. I like my Batmobile. They would like my Batmobile. We should give them a toy they would like.

Embarrassed thinking I was going to be the teacher on the lesson in giving.
I was prepared to convince him to part with the toys he's had for over a year & next to never touches. And I honestly never thought of giving away a new toy. The Batmobile is one of his favorites.
Maybe this is why Jesus praises the childlike heart. (Matt 18:2-6)
Simply, Carter wanted to give away a toy he'd like to find under the tree.

*Is 11:6 "...a child shall lead them."

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Retail therapy?

You know that wall or corner of your house you haven't filled yet? The one you know how you want to decorate but haven't found what you had in mind or had the $ to buy what you really want to put there yet. That one. That was my bedroom wall. Large, contractor-neutral-painted wall, with a high ceiling & a unique angle.

I found what I wanted to put there when I really wasn't looking a week or so ago. AND I got $200 off the retail price! Hooray! It just fit in my trunk, sweeping just past Lilah's head in the backseat. (Lord, don't let a cop pull me over for obstructed vision & child-endangerment!)

I was out shopping when I probably shouldn't have been. But I had that itch. The shopping itch. Do you get that itch? You just want to SHOP!

Maybe it isn't just an itch after all? Maybe it's medical like this article in Parenting magazine suggests
Hmm...What do you think? Medical excuse for shopping?! Who knew?!

I thought it was the red cups that just came out at Starbucks & the Christmas decor in the stores putting me in the mood. I was thinking new shoes or some Fall decor on clearance.
Whatever the reason, I finally filled that sad, vacant wall in my bedroom & for just over $100. Pin It

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Finds:

I did an internship at the Dream Center in LA in the summer between freshman & sophomore year in college. My first time in SoCal after growing up in upstate NY was thrilling. I loved the Santa Monica strip & Venice Beach & enjoyed walking down Rodeo Drive & imagine myself on the set of Pretty Woman.
We had at least one free day & the first time I got a hold of a friend's car, I headed straight to Pasadena. Why? I had to find this house, of course. I was 11 when this movie came out & watched it incessantly until Sleepless in Seattle came out & I had to switch on & off between them (until You've Got Mail came out) Somewhere I had heard that the actual Father of the Bride house was in Pasadena. It is, but I never found it (this was before iPhones & Google & the blogosphere)
Since then, I've fallen in love with several movie houses.
Do you also watch a movie over & over to take in some of the details you may have missed the first time because you were distracted by the dialogue?
I know I'm not alone.
If you're with me, indulge if you dare in!
Blogger, Julia even has a quiz to see if you are hooked on houses?
I'd pass up dessert any day of the week to indulge in a home tour on her site.

I LOVE, LOVE Erica's Hampton's house in Something's Gotta Give (below)
I got the last 2 pictures from Architectural Digest's slideshow of the set-yes the SET! Can you believe it's not a house?

Nancy Meyers has impeccable taste. I also LOVED The Holiday.
Take a tour of both Amanda (Cameron Diaz) & Iris'(Kate Winslet) houses on her site
& Graham's (Jude Law)'s house here Set for cutest little girl linew/an English accet ever "You don't like tents?"
Here's Amanda's living room in LA:
And here's Iris' living room in London: folks!
She has many tours of my favorite movie homes under the Movie Houses tab.
If only the soundtrack played while you scrolled through the home!

Celebrity homes are there too. I was giddy to get a look at Hampton's Home of Sarah Jessica Parker. And adored Reese Witherspoon's charming place.
Of all the celebrity homes, my favorite remained one that I happened to catch years ago on Cribs. It's for sale...or at least it was this summer. Here it is below:

This is the Franklin, TN home of Leann Rimes, of all people. I love it!

Okay, enough induging for today!
Now I've shared my dirty little secret with you.
I'm Tina. And I'm hooked on houses. (I was in one a couple weekends ago that I'm thinking of asking to photograph for my own little home tour on because the details were in plenty. Right here in my little Texas town; you won't believe it!)
Better than indulging in your kids' Halloween candy, guilt-free (as long as your children are sleeping & chores are done).
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